Works and Words

A little information about me and my art.

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  • Artists Statement

    I am an abstract painter who relies on elements of the landscape to ground my nearly non-objective work. I am fortunate to find meaning and constancy in the landscape that surrounds me since factors such as light, space, and temperature keep appearing in my paintings. These elements give some stability to a large variety of cartoon elements and energies that “act up” in many of the works.

    The work of Baroque masters such as Guido Reni granted a sort of permission to pack as much action as spatially possible into the limited, stilled, pictorial space of landscape. Today, cartoon animation and video push the same boundaries. I love the immediacy of cartoons as expressive devices. I love the challenge of making art at the outer limits of formal order, using traditional materials.

    At times, my focus has shifted completely to drawing as a way to capture rapidly shifting impressions, memories and questions in a visual way. “Opera” Series and “Rumpus” Series were the result of this attempt last year and led me back to painting almost exclusively. (The boundary between the two formats, drawing and painting, has for me become permeable, and even nonexistent at times.) I find the richness of a layered impasto, contrasted with a cartoon content and line, to be a source of continued interest. This "argument" between the forms, (direct explicit cartoons versus layered, rich painting) still strikes me as something to pursue.

    Recently I have found the act of depicting form on canvas to be more gesturally based than ever. Yet because of the very process of painting the action in the works has stilled somewhat. It is a temptation for me and for the viewer to see little narratives both within and between the paintings this year. It is my hope that the abstraction of thought present in much poetry remains the ultimate source of meaning in these paintings. Hopefully they transcend their tendency to become actual pictorial vignettes.

    Susan Best
    May, 2018
  • Biographical

    Practicing Studio Artist:

    1985 to the present (2019)


    University of Illinois; B.S. in Pharmacy
    Illinois State University; M.A. in Painting and Drawing
    Illinois State University; M.F.A. in Painting and Drawing

    Selected Awards and Grants

    First Prize Abstract, Faculty/Student Collaboration, Bradley University, 1993. (Published 1993)
    Who’s Who in America, 2000, Millennium edition, 2001 edition, 2002 edition, 2003 edition, 2004 edition, 2005 edition, 2006 edition.
    Who's Who in American Women, 1995 edition, 1996 edition 1997
    edition, 1998 edition, 1999 edition, 2000
    Millennium edition, 2001 edition, 2002 edition, 2003 edition, 2004 edition, 2005 edition, 2006 edition.
    Who's Who in American Teachers, 1994 edition, 1995 edition, 1996 edition, 2003 edition, 2004 edition, 2005 edition, 2006.
    Access Regranting
    , 1995, Illinois Arts Council and Peoria Arts and Sciences Council; to implement and coordinate an internship for young artists in under-served populations.
    Percent for Art 1997, Purchase Award, Arts Council of New Orleans

    Teaching Experience

    2007-2008 Instructor, Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN
    2003-2004 Instructor, Arts Enrichment Program, New Orleans, LA
    2002-2003 Instructor, Arts Enrichment Program, New Orleans, LA
    2000-2001 Instructor, Painting, Longue Vue Foundation, New Orleans, Louisiana
    1996-1997 Instructor, Mentor Internship Program. Co- Administrator. Peoria Art Guild
    1996-1997 Instructor, Mentor Internship Program. Co- Administrator. Peoria Art Guild
    1994-1995 Instructor, Department of Art, Illinois Central College
    1993-1994 Instructor, Department of Art, Illinois Central College
    1991-1993 Instructor, Department of Art, Bradley University; Peoria, Illinois
    1992-1993 Instructor, Department of Art, Illinois Central College
    1991-1992 Instructor, Department of Art, Illinois Central College
    1990-1991 Teaching Fellowship, Painting and Drawing, Illinois State University Grant
    1990-1991 Acting Mentor, Mentorship Honors Program, Department of Art, Illinois State University
    1988-1989 Teaching Fellowship, Drawing and Painting, Illinois State University Grant
  • Selected Solo Exhibits
    Individual Exhibitions:

    2015 “Open Studio” mFAC, Memphis, TN.

    2010 “
    The Studio” Dixon Gallery to mFAC, Memphis, TN.

    2003 “Near and Far: Landscapes” Ludovico Gallery and Sculpture Trail, Seneca Falls, NY.

    2002 “
    Looking and Playing”, Crescent City Brewhouse, New Orleans, LA

    1999 "
    Paintings", Blackhawk College, East Campus Gallery, Kewanee, IL

    1996 "
    Paintings", Peoria Art Guild, Peoria, IL (funded by the Illinois Arts Council)

    1993 "
    Works on Paper", Kent State University; Ashtabula, Ohio

    1993 "
    Handworks", Eureka College Gallery; Eureka, Illinois

    1992 "
    Paintings", Performing Arts Center, Illinois Central College; East Peoria, Illinois

    1991 "
    Paintings", University Galleries, Illinois State University; Normal, Illinois

    1988 "
    Dancing Face Series", University Galleries, Illinois State University; Normal, Illinois
  • Selected Group Exhibits
    Selected Group Exhibitions:

    2015 Artist Market, Brooks Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
    2013 WYES Art,
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    2013 Postcard Art, Friends of the Arts,
    Normal, Illinois
    2013 "Studio Visit", Southern States (Publication), 2013
    2012 Selected Group Exhibition, mFAC Gallery,
    Memphis, Tennessee
    2012 WYES Art,
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    2012 Postcard Art, Friends of the Arts,
    Normal, Illinois
    2012 Art Takes Miami,
    Miami, Florida
    2011 Postcard Art.
    ISU Gallery, Normal, Illinois
    2010 mFAC Gallery Artists. MedicineFactory Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee
    Alumni Art. Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
    Class of 2007, Lantana Projects. Memphis, Tennessee
    2006 Class of 2006, Lantana Projects. Memphis, Tennessee
    Uprooted. Louisiana, Louisiana State Gallery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    2006 mFAC 001. MedicineFactory Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee
    2005 Saltline Biennial. Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile Alabama
    2005 Louisiana Artists Exhibition. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    2004 Inaugural Exhibition. Museum of Contemporary Art, Mobile, Alabama
    2003 Art With A Southern Drawl. University of Mobile, Mobile, Alabama
    2003 Art Up The Yin Yang. Space Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana
    2001 LIVING ON THE PRAIRIE, LIVING ON THE PLAINS. Museum Show, Wichita, Kansas.
    1998 DRAWING NOW. Venice Arts Center, Venice, Florida
    1997 WEST COAST WORKS ON/OF PAPER. The Ink People Center For The Arts, Eureka, California
    1997 PURCHASE EXHIBIT: PERCENT FOR ART PROGRAM. Arts Council of New Orleans, Treme Ville Meilleur, New Orleans, Louisiana
    1996 MIDWEST ART*POLAND. Contemporary Arts Center, Oleczyn, Poland. (Curated by John Heintzman, Bradley University
    1995 New Art, New Year. Illinois State Museum; Springfield, Illinois.
    1994 Peoria Art Guild, Best of Show. Peoria, Illinois
    1994 Faber Birren Color Award Show. Stamford Art Association, Stamford, Connecticut
    1993 Group Show. Dorothea Theil Gallery; South Holland, Michigan
    1993 Faculty Show. Illinois Central College, East Peoria, Illinois
    1992 New Horizons Biennial. Old Orchard Art Center; Skokie, Illinois
    1992 New Art Showcase. Chicago Art Dealers Association, One Illinois Center; Chicago, Illinois
    1992 Eureka College Invitational. Eureka College; Eureka, Illinois
    1992 Chicago Art Dealers Association Featured Works. One Illinois Center, Chicago, Illinois
    1991 Artists' Coalition Group Show, First Prize (painting). Peoria Civic Center, Peoria, Illinois
    1991 Spiva Annual. Spiva Art Center; Joplin, Missouri
    1991 New Talent - Abstraction. Struve Gallery; Chicago, Illinois
    1991 Abstract Works. Struve Gallery; Chicago, Illinois
    1991 11th Annual National Small Oil Paintings Exhibition, Honorable Mention. Wichita Art Association; Wichita, Kansas
    1990 Jones Graduate BIENNIAL. Northwestern University; Evanston, Illinois
    1990 Illinois State University Graduate BienniaL. University Galleries; Normal, Illinois
    1990 Illinois State Fair Juried EXHIBITION. Firehouse Gallery; Springfield, Illinois
    1990 Artists' Coalition of Central Illinois Group Show. Peoria Civic Center; Peoria, Illinois
    1989 Illinois State Fair Juried Show. Firehouse Gallery; Springfield, Illinois
    1989 Artists' Coalition of Illinois Inaugural Show. Peoria Civic Center; Peoria, Illinois
    1989 Galex 23. (painting Prize) Galesburg Civic Art Center; Galesburg, Illinois
    1988 Waterfront Studios Artists Group Show. Waterfront Gallery; Peoria, Illinois
    1988 Peoria Historical Society Invitational. Peoria Public Library; Peoria, Illinois
    1988 Faber Birren Color Award Show, (Merit Award). Stamford Art Association; Stamford, Connecticut
    1987 Illinois Art League Small Painting Show. Lakeview Museum; Peoria, Illinois
    1987 ART USA, Western Colorado Center for the Arts. Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Selected Collections
    Selected Collections:

    Dr. and Mrs. Robert Gomez, Peoria, Illinois
    Seiberlich Organization, Barrington, Illinois
    Queen City Paper Company, Schaumberg, Illinois
    Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
    Mr. And Mrs. Richard Johnson, Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Dr. Sara Rusch, Peoria, Illinois
    Ted and Pat Fleming, Peoria, Illinois
    Duffy Armstrong, Bradley University Foundation, Peoria, Illinois
    Mr. Neil Anderson, Chicago Bears, Chicago, Illinois
    Mr. Fred Dare, Chicago, Illinois
    Ken and Jan Holder, Bloomington, Illinois
    Michael Bork, Bork Industries, Peoria, Illinois
    Kenneth and Barbara Hoffman, Bradley University
    Dr. and Mrs. Pat Lister, Peoria, IL
    The City of New Orleans, Louisiana
    Dr. Steven Harkness, New Orleans, Louisiana
    Colleen and Chris Mathis, Tucson, Arizona
    Dr. Odile David Kovitz, New Orleans, LA
    Molly and Matt DeJohn, Rochester, NY
    Chris and Abby Hammes, Madison, WI
    Phillip and Julie Lewis, Youngstown, OH
    Trice Patterson, Memphis, TN
    Heyward B. Gualandi, St. Paul, MN
    Tierney and Paul Brauchle, Dallas, TX
    Tim and Marcy Best, Plano, TX
    Elizabeth and David Bierman, Mahtomedi, MN
    Dru Herrington, Malvern, AR
    Katherine Giebel, Attwater, OH
    Marlene and Harold Gregor, Bloomington, IL
    Laura and Ken Berk, Normal, IL
    Janice and John Bogott, Germantown, TN
    Selby Horton, Germantown, TN
    Kevin and Shelly Bennett, Memphis, TN
  • Professional and Gallery Affiliations
    Professional and Gallery Affiliations:

    American Association of University Professors
    American Association of University Women
    Peoria Art Guild (Board Member 1993-1995)
    Louisiana Arts Council, New Orleans, LA
    Brooks Museum, Memphis, TN
    Medicine Factory Art Center, Memphis, TN
    Jay Etkin Gallery, Memphis, TN
    Struve Gallery, Chicago, IL
    Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL
  • Academic Affiliations
    Academic Affiliations:

    Illinois State University (Bloomington, IL)
    Illinois Central College (East Peoria, IL)
    Bradley University (Peoria, IL)
    Memphis College of Art (Memphis, TN)